Angola

Diversification and reform
June 17, 2016

Economic background

Since oil was discovered in Angola with commercial success in 1955, Angola’s oil industry has grown at a rapid pace. The country has proven reserves of crude oil of over 8.4 billion barrels and in 2015, Angola produced 1.65m bbl/d of crude oil. As a result, Angola is the second largest oil producer in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

But oil is not all Angola has to offer.

Diversification underway

In 2000, shortly before the civil war ended, the Government laid down its strategy for the comprehensive social and economic development of Angola from 2000 to 2025. In addition to this strategy, diversification of the country’s economy has been an important aspect of the Government’s agenda. The aim of the country’s National Development Plan 2013-2017 has been to achieve sustainable development of the Angolan economy by increasing non-oil income and production, increasing job creation and promoting exports of goods and services. Significant growth and investment opportunities now exist in non-oil sectors such as infrastructure and construction, steel, technology, telecommunications, agriculture, healthcare, natural resources (diamonds, iron, gas) and energy (renewables, hydropower).

Improved investment environment

In order to facilitate business and encourage foreign investors to take advantage of Angola’s economic diversification, the Government has been taking noteworthy measures to improve Angola’s investment environment. Having enjoyed political stability since the end of the civil war in 2002, the country is now benefitting from open market reforms, increased fiscal transparency and improved legislation. Incentives for foreign investors now include repatriation of funds for foreign investments, tax deductions and exemption from certain taxes and duties. These significant improvements have enhanced Angola’s investment credentials and make Angola an attractive market for foreign investment. Recent evidence of Angola’s improved investment environment is the country’s hugely successful and heavily oversubscribed inaugural Eurobond in November 2015 (on which Norton Rose Fulbright advised the Government).

Norton Rose Fulbright and Angola

We have been advising on transactions in Angola for over 40 years and have extensive experience of advising the Government, Sonangol, the National Bank of Angola, development finance institutions and national and international lenders on transactions and disputes in a range of sectors including energy, aviation, infrastructure, telecommunications, shipping and finance. We have excellent relationships with a number of local law firms and are familiar with the requirements and structures usually sought by project sponsors, lenders and the Government. Our breadth of work gives us a unique position and understanding of doing business in Angola and understanding the challenges involved in the financing of transactions in Angola.

  • Ranked number 1 in the 2015 IJGlobal league tables by volume and value for deals in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Band 1, Africa-wide Projects & Energy – Chambers Global 2015
  • Band 1, Africa-wide Projects & Energy: Mining & Minerals – Chambers Global 2015

Transaction highlights

Angolan Eurobond

  • Advising the Government of Angola on Angola’s debut US$1.5 billion international bond issuance, the largest inaugural bond issue by a non-investment grade subSaharan African sovereign to date. The bond was issued to US investors in reliance on Rule 144A and to non-US investors pursuant to Regulation S. The issue was listed on the regulated Irish Stock Exchange on November 12, 2015.

Cambambe Dam

  • Advising the Ministry of Finance of Angola as borrower on all financing aspects of this €560 million hydro power project. The lenders were led by HSBC and Société Générale and backed by export credit agencies CESCE and Euler Hermes. The project was also supported by MIGA

Nzeto Soyo Highway

  • Advising the Ministry of Finance of Angola on the Nzeto Soyo highway project with €163 million financing provided by BNP Paribas and backed by the Italian export credit agency, SACE.

FPSO financings – including

  • Advising the arrangers on a US$190 million project financing for the FPSO Xikomba for offshore Angola.
  • Advising the international bank syndicate on a US$134 million loan facility to finance the acquisition and conversion of the FPSO Kuito for use offshore Angola.
  • Advising the arrangers on the US$245 million project loan facility to finance the acquisition of the first LPG FPSO for use offshore Angola.

TAAG

  • Advising TAAG, Angola’s national airline on various financings for the purchase of aircraft from Boeing, backed by US Exim.

South Atlantic Cable System

  • Advising Banco Desenvolvimento de Angola in respect of the first submarine cable system directly linking Africa and Latin America. The cable system is partially co-funded by JBIC and SMBC with the support of Nippon Export and Investment Insurance.

Angola LNG financing

  • Advising a syndicate of eight international lenders on the multi-billion dollar corporate financing for Angola LNG Limited for the repair works to be realised in order to restart its LNG plant in Angola.

Sinochem receivables financing

  • Advising the Government of Angola and Sonangol on the largest oil receivables backed financing to date with China Development Bank as lender and Sinochem Group as offtaker under a dedicated oil contract.

Ministry of Finance, Angolan financings

  • Advising the Ministry of Finance of Angola in relation to the financing of various public interest projects by international banks, backed by various ECAs.

Receivables financings

  • Structuring Sonangol’s Cayman Islands incorporated subsidiary to structure its financings together with corporate guarantees and setting up collection account structures which alleviate the need for underlying project security arrangements to be put in place. A series of financings with Sonangol corporate guarantees have been structured through this route.

Cobalt acquisition

  • Advising Sonangol on its acquisition of all of Cobalt’s 40 per cent participating interest in Block 20/11 and 21/09, offshore Angola.